Friday, August 28, 2009

Reading Thinking and Resolutions

What a dynamite combination that is! Reading and thinking.
Too bad so many of us have put it aside for the incessant, increasing hubbub of life in general.
Me? I'm tired of making excuses for myself.
I want to grow up and activate that ancient vow of mine to arise every morning at 5am for the express purpose of reading and meditating for the first hour of each day * yawn/gasp! *

I want to be able to walk into my personal library unashamed for a change - hands on the hips - eyes surveying shelf after shelf of books all doggy-eared and dustfree!
I'd love for that Queen Anne's chair in the corner to lose its' pristine appearance.

I should
I would
I could

And now, for those smart people that DO make time for good reading - here's a blog post my daughter just sent me - wisely noting its appeal and kindly sharing it: mercy!
... just one of the topics that never fail to stimulate vigorous discussion in our family circle.
And how I adore vigorous discussion.

She reads. Her husband reads. Her three toddlers read! A ton. Luv you kids. Tons more.
I think I'll be a more regular follower of this blog; it features a smorgasbord of thought provoking articles layed out in a highly polished format.
So it's not a book! My laptop will superimpose nicely with it's metal spine and positioning as I lounge in that Queen Anne's chair creating a sinkhole like never before.
Should this confessional pledge of mine ever morph into a fast and furious habit, you'll be in the know, probably without even saying so.

Little packages are the BEST

Another summer sleepover to hang out with gramma. This time we had some special surprise visitors...

The first order of the day is the now standard breakfast from McDonalds on the back porch.
It's a tad surreal to walk into that local breakfast joint and see who's gracing the tables - all bespectacled retired folk in crowns of gray!
...I take mine to go.

This is Norman. Brother to black Benji. They dropped by with their owner, Auntie Pauline for a rousing session of socialization. Aunt Pauline is a highly favoured family relation whose popularity only pales slightly when accompanied by Uncle GERRY! Can you hear them squealing out his name?

A nippy morning dictates a pass through the cupboards to find some makeshift sweaters.

Barbie sports the same wild tousled hairdo and shades of her playmate for the day...

It took less than a minute to forge a bond with these two sets of siblings.

Somehow, I knew it wouldn't be long before their passive nature was exploited. This almost trumps Thomas the Train!

Norman's look of resignation is even funnier with Micah's mischievous countenance behind it.

Look gramma, he loves me.

Best friends - for the moment

Rachel cracks me up but...

...this kid just makes me howl. She insists on doing EVERYTHING her older siblings do and then some more. Her zest for life is infectious.

I coaxed him down, training the camera lens on his expression. He wisely predicted I wouldn't be able to catch him at the bottom and gave me the most hilarious look of betrayal when he landed in a heap on the grass.

Rays of sunshine bounce off the slide and light up a beautiful expression of my little elfin grand-daughter.
These three revel in the outdoors and teach me much about savouring the simple pleasures in this life.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Passed Silver & Headin' for Gold

He sidled over to my spot on the couch one evening last week and nuzzled a lovely suggestion into my ear...
"Let's do something really special to celebrate our wedding anniversary next Saturday".
I was really impressed that he remembered so far in advance, but more endearing to me, was his intent to go beyond the perfunctory token.
"Which Golf Course should I book for the occasion?"
Wow again. That was about all she could say was 'Wow'.

But that's my funny boy, with whom I have had the pleasure of sharing life for almost 2/3rds of mine. I pretended right along with him that it was a very good joke indeed. ROTFL.

Sarah just barely made it thru the doorframe on Friday with a fresh flower arrangement to rival the best. It was a lovely gesture from our children to mark the occasion. I'm glad to have some pictures of it intact -- we had to remove the lillies upon re-entering our home last night to quell the forehead penetrating/headache producing fragrance. Otherwise, we marvel at its beauty and abundance. Note to self and any others interested: no lillies at my funeral please.

We hopped in the car after a long & leisure morning breakfast on the front porch and headed south down the QEW to attend to two things we always said we would do for a memorable date: The Butterfly Conservatory and a stroll along Niagara Falls.

With latte in hand, surrounded by the extremely gorgeous sound of the Canadian Tenors. *sigh* Hit the link and treat yourself to a listen of their debut album. I'm especially smitten with their rendition of Rita MacNiel's Home I'll Be which is a stirring tribute to Cape Breton Island but the track that can truly make me weep is number ten La Califfa with a cello feature that makes me wish I could redo my music specialty.
Then again - there's a lot of exquisite piano here too... :)
The other track I fell in love with is numero eight Sempre Vicino - a prayer with a beautiful melody that held great promise as possible repertoire for my choir but the lyrics went from powerful to sappy in the span of one verse.
So typical of a sacred song that endeavours to tickle every ear... blast!

Below: The Banded Orange butterfly whose range is Brazil to central Mexico

There is something essentially humbling about studying these little creatures of God.
The Butterfly flits about in myriad variety, their design spectacularly unique and purposeful - their life span VERY short. I shall add additional information in a different ink tomorrow when I've taken another run through my Gift Store book purchase!

Below: The Owl butterfly (!) From my Official Guide: Whether it's the impressive size of the earth-toned wings or the stunning yellow rimmed eye-spot of the hindwing, Owl butterflies are a conservatory favourite. Scientists have yet to determine if this 'false eye' mimics the eye of a vertebrae predator or a distasteful tree frog; either way the false eye is considered a defense strategy. Midday, Owl butterflies are usually spotted sipping juices at the fruit trays or perched, wings closed, on the trunks of the many tropical trees. During the dusk and dawn hours they spring to life, dancing, twirling, and soaring along the pathways in the small clusters. You can see these two highly favoured specimens at the top picture of this post - the Blue Morpho and the Owl butterflies taking a break on some smooth tropical landing pad.

Below: The Blue Morpho aka the dazzling Jewel of the Forest! The brilliant iridescent blue is created by the diffraction of light off the microscopic ridges of the wing scales. The underside of the wings are a dull brown colour with numerous eye spots.

Below: The Banded Peacock Butterfly

Below: The Gray Cracker Butterfly

Below: The Julia butterfly, bold in colour and personality!

The Niagara Parks Commission maintains miles of beautifully gardened plots and parkland.
Obviously a favoured location for wedding photography - we saw no less than four separate parties doing exactly that!

My beloved reading the legend to the vast expanse known as the Niagara Parkway.

Finally - a perfect summer day (from start to finish) to enjoy a family picnic. We saw many such informal gatherings scattered throughout our travels on Saturday. I loved the look of it!

And there we were - with a half million others. :)

Yay for air-conditioned People Movers! Our romantic naive notion of walking to the Falls from our back forty parking lot was quickly dismissed for the more practical, sensible option. *sigh* The luxury that mature thinking affords!

We took the scenic route out and followed the Niagara River for a while. That's where we saw a great number of seasoned picnic'kers' revelling in their little makeshift domain of food - family and fellowship. I had to wonder if our own 'immigrant community' has lost something very special in her second generational outlook.

And then homeward bound with the four tenor vocal vibes emanating through the windows and a brilliant sun sinking into the horizon.

This is a terrific little specialty bookstore right here in our hometown -- it also beckons for an afternoon visit real soon. We determined once again that there is much to enjoy and behold right in our own backyard. The grass is still lush and green on our own side of the fence.
We're thankful for the gift we have in that confidence - knowing that despite being made in His image, we often fail to show as magnificently as the complex but compliant creature known as the butterfly.